Everyone needs a Plan Me. Your Plan Me makes life more rewarding. It can be based around a big goal, or perhaps something simpler, like taking up a new hobby or learning a new language just for fun.
Maybe you’d like to take a long holiday to visit friends on the other side of the globe. Or perhaps you’re saving for a new home or car. However, searching down the back of the sofa isn’t going to make it happen. So we’ve asked independent journalist, Kenny Kemp, to share his top 13 hints and tips to help you save money and make your Plan Me a reality.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to have fun. There are lots of great places to visit that are completely free. Artfund gets you into 200-odd museums, historic houses, galleries and castles for a small annual fee. A National Art Pass starts from £45 per annum.
When you’re choosing a holiday destination, take a look at what the Pound is doing. If we’re up, say compared with France, it makes a trip far more attractive. Some destinations, like the US and some European countries, are up to 25% more expensive due to the poor exchange rate. Take steps before you leave to make sure your travel money is safe and accessible while you’re on holiday.
Borrowing books and CDs is free and new DVDs cost just £2.50 a week or £1 for kids' films. Find your local library simply by entering your postcode.
Believe it or not, 5.5 million people have the wrong tax code in the UK. You could be paying too much income tax.1
Write up a weekly meal plan, and then write your shopping list. According to research, almost half of all the salad we buy goes in the bin, while the average family throws away £480 on uneaten groceries every year. Knowing what you're going to eat in advance leads to fewer shopping trips and naughty impulse buys at the check out.3
Supermarkets put discount labels on food late in the day, and at certain times of the week. Find out when that is, buy the reduced items and pop them in your freezer.
Often a supermarket’s own-brand groceries are made by the same firms who make the big-name favourites. They may also contain less salt and sugar, and so try something different the next time you go shopping. And remember, big brands aren’t necessarily superior.
Have something to eat before you start pushing the trolley. Otherwise your stomach has a strange way of taking over and buying lots of expensive treats.
A while ago they were clunky and expensive. But those days are over. Compact Fluorescent Lamps use up to 80% less electricity and can save you £3 a year. That’s £45 over the lifetime of each bulb.4
Don't fill it to the top. Just boil the amount of water you need. Seems a small thing, but when you consider that the average household boils the kettle 1,500 times a year, it all adds up.5
It isn't just better for the environment, it will save you money. By switching off electrical appliances you could easily save between £150 and £300 a year.
You could save £45 to £80 a year just by remembering to turn off the TV, the PC and whatever you have on standby.
Along with a programmer and thermostatic radiator valves, adding a thermostat could save your household between £70 and £150 a year.
(1) The Guardian, HMRC gets tax wrong for 5.5 million people
(2) Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Global Food, Waste Not, Want Not
(3) Energy Saving Trust, Energy Efficient Lighting
(4) Energy Saving Trust, Home Appliances